OT Itinerary: A Week Exploring The Best Of Kenya

From the vibrant markets in Nairobi to the vastness of the Maasai Mara, this exclusive OT itinerary will surely leave you speechless
Three giraffes on Kilimanjaro mount background in the National park of Kenya, Africa
Three giraffes on Kilimanjaro mount background in the National park of Kenya, AfricaShutterstock

With a heart full of hope and excitement, I embarked on my month-long trip to Kenya, a land of breathtaking diversity. It offers stunning savannas, majestic wildlife, and vibrant cultures, making it a captivating destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts. My journey in Kenya was one of a kind—where I initially volunteered at a childcare centre on the outskirts of Nairobi for nearly two weeks, after which I hopped from one game reserve to another, experiencing the thrill of spotting the animals in their natural habitat.

Now that Kenya is visa-free for Indians and there are direct flights from New Delhi and Mumbai to Nairobi, this country has made its place in every traveller’s bucket list. Here’s a perfect itinerary for those who wish to experience the best of the African wilderness.

Enjoying a game drive in Maasai Mara
Enjoying a game drive in Maasai MaraRiyanka Roy

Day 01: Arrival In Nairobi

Popularly known as "the Green City in the Sun," Nairobi is the only capital city in Africa with a National Park within its boundaries. Once you arrive in Nairobi, take some rest and set out to explore the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where you can also sign up to foster a baby elephant. Then, continue with your journey to the Giraffe Center, where you'll meet the Rothschild giraffes.

For lunch, head to the Carnivore Restaurant to savour the taste of authentic Kenyan grilled meat. After lunch, you can explore the Railway Museum of Nairobi, which has an interesting collection showcasing the continent’s railway history, including locomotives of the highly controversial Kenya—Uganda Railways.

Best places to stay in Nairobi: Holiday Inn (near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport), The Giraffe Manor, and The Brandy Bus in Karen.

Best places to eat in Nairobi: The Carnivore Restaurant, Tamambo Bar and Grill, Mawimbi, and The Grove Restaurant.

Day 02: Game Drive At Nairobi National Park And Journey To Maasai Mara

There's a reason why Kenya is called "The Safari Mecca of the World," and I only realised it once I experienced my first ever African game drive. Known to be the oldest national park in East Africa, this is the home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the endangered black rhino, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes, and a diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. It’s best to opt for the early morning safari, from 6 am to 9 pm.

Post breakfast, set out for the iconic Maasai Mara National Reserve, which will take about five and a half hours to reach from Nairobi. If lucky, you can catch the evening game drive at 3.30 pm and watch the breathtaking African sunset.

Maasai folks performing their tribal dance
Maasai folks performing their tribal danceRiyanka Roy

Day 03: Soaking In The Wildnerness At Maasai Mara

When I entered Maasai Mara at dawn, I had goosebumps—it felt like I was on the set of the Lion King movie! It’s beautiful to watch nature unfolding at its own pace, and a day’s game drive here will surely bring you closer to the wildlife thriving in this part of the world. Apart from the game drive, you can also visit the Maasai tribes and explore their traditional villages on the outskirts of the reserve.

Best places to stay in Maasai Mara: Mara Serena Safari Lodge, Sopa Lodge, Olkinyei Mara Tented Camp.

Day 04: Travel To Lake Nakuru National Park

Bidding adieu to Maasai Mara, it’s time to set out for Lake Nakuru National Park, nestled amidst the Great African Rift Valley and known for its endangered rhinoceros and other fascinating wildlife populations. Here, I got to spot thousands of flamingoes, and you can too! Your wildlife encounters here will be stunning and etched into your memory forever.

Best places to stay near Lake Nakuru National Park: Ziwa Bush Lodge, Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge, and Flamingo Hill Tented Camps.

Day 05: Take A Day Trip To Lake Naivasha National Park

After an early morning birding at Lake Nakuru, you can head off to Lake Naivasha, a mere two-hour drive away. Situated at an elevation of 1,884 m, this is the highest lake within the Great Rift Valley. Once you reach, opt for a boat safari that will take you closer to diverse bird species and bloat of hippopotamuses along the serene shores of the lake.

A majestic elephant with Kilimanjaro behind him, at Amboseli
A majestic elephant with Kilimanjaro behind him, at AmboseliRiyanka Roy

If you’re keen on hiking, you can also explore Hell’s Gate National Park, the only national park in Kenya where walking safaris are allowed. Yeah, you read that right—you can walk through the trails of Hell’s Gate with a guide and watch the zebras, eland, hartebeest, and antelopes pass by.

Day 06: Travel To Amboseli National Park

The distance from Lake Nakuru to Amboseli is approximately 358 km and can be covered in six hours. Although not as famous as Maasai Mara, this place made me fall in love with the majestic views of Mt. Kilimanjaro! Chase the sunset once you reach, and glimpse the crimson hues painting the horizon. Amboseli is renowned for its abundant elephant population, making it the perfect place for you to spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Best places to stay in Amboseli: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Kilima Safari Camp, Amboseli Sopa Lodge.

Day 07: Back To Nairobi

Take a walk around your camp or lodge, soaking in the first rays of the sun. If your heart still longs for another game drive, go for it. You might just glimpse a mighty elephant with the Kilimanjaro as the backdrop—just like I did. Around the afternoon, leave Amboseli for Nairobi, where your epic adventures began.

The Information 

Getting There

Flying is the swiftest and most common way to reach Kenya. The main gateway, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi, receives flights from around the world. Mombasa's Moi International Airport (MBA) is another option.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Kenya is from January to March, when the weather is dry and favourable for spotting animals. If you're keen on wildlife photography and want to witness the annual wildebeest migration, June-July and October-November would be perfect.

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